By Bryan Hyde

Commentary -- The past couple of years have provided many examples of what dissent looks like. As may be expected, it can take many different forms -- not all of them pleasing to everyone.


As much as we may try to convince ourselves that unity should be prized above all, dissenting voices can bring much needed perspective and ideas to counter the herd mentality. 

Notwithstanding slogans like “we’re all in this together,” there are times when the collective mindset becomes a substitute for rational thinking and great harm and suffering can occur. 

As Charles Hugh Smith puts it, dissent serves a useful role in the health of a society:

“…dissent is the immune system of society: suppressing dissent doesn't just get rid of pesky political protesters and conspiracy theorists; it also gets rid of the innovations and solutions society needs to adapt to changing conditions.”

Boston Tea Party
Edward Gooch Collection

We need those voices that are out of lockstep with the majority to keep us from being lulled into a state of groupthink.

Shared ideals, voluntarily embraced, are the cement that provides necessary cohesion in a healthy society. But the voluntary part is very difficult for those who cannot tolerate differing points of view.

We need those principled voices of dissent who are willing to brave criticism and vilification to say what too many fear to say for themselves.

This requires a stronger commitment to truth than to our need for approval.

* Hyde In Plain Sight is written by KDXU personality Bryan Hyde. Catch his daily HIPS vignette at 7:50-ish every weekday morning on KDXU and listen to The Bryan Hyde Show weekends at 7 p.m. Saturday and 6 p.m. Sunday nights.

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